On Saturday, May 16, 2020, New Hampton School will premiere its first virtual spring musical production. This production of Once Upon a Mattress is a shortened adaptation of the original musical by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer, and Dean Fuller with music and lyrics by Mary Rodgers and Marshall Barer. First produced in 1959, the story is based on The Princess and the Pea. A kingdom under a curse leaves their king mute, and his angry queen holding the power to determine which princess their son can marry. The lucky bride-to-be must pass the queen’s toughest test. To feel a single pea underneath luxuriously soft mattresses. And, in the meantime, no one in the kingdom may be married until the prince is wed. The twists on the classic fairy tale are sure to make audiences laugh.
Students auditioned and started rehearsals for the production in February prior to Project Week and spring break. After adapting to a distance learning model for the spring term, the cast decidedly agreed on the value of the creative process and continued with the production—even though they would need to do it remotely.
This virtual production has produced a number of creative problems for the cast and production team to solve. How can a group, that is located around the world, sing together? This was the conundrum that Director Meredith C. Brown and Music Director Christine Chaisson needed to solve. It took the immeasurable video editing talents of Ben Fridlington ’21 to bring the work to life. With virtual zoom rehearsals, countless recordings of music tracks, innumerable attempts at blocking and reacting to other cast members in an isolated environment, the wonderful cast creatively solved many of these problems together.
Thank you to the cast
The cast includes Sophie Pankhurst ’22, Sarah Lacroix ’22, Magal Conard ’21, Evan Britton ’21, Lucy Thomson ’22, Ryan LeBrun ’22, and Lakelyn Keverline ’22. There are some faculty faces that appear as well, and our thanks also go to stage manager Gillian Bonin ’21. Director and faculty member Meredith Brown says, “I couldn’t be more proud and impressed by what this cast has achieved. They have shown themselves to be incredibly resilient, creative artists, and devoted to their craft. From each doing their homemade costume designs to finding their own props—they worked hard to bring the production to life.”
The show must go on
We welcome parents and students to take a break from your evening schedule this Saturday, and watch a private viewing of the spring musical with others around the globe, all from the comfort of your own home. Details to access the private showing will be shared in this Friday’s newsletter. Congratulations to our cast and crew for overcoming the technical and geographic distances to continue your work!